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Three Relatives Charged In Death Of Teen Girl With Cerebral Palsy Allegedly Subjected To ‘Deplorable Conditions’
Following the death of 14-year-old Heather Baynard, authorities found 40 neglected animals at the South Carolina home. One dog was already dead, and two puppies had to be euthanized.
The older brother of a 14-year-old girl living with severe cerebral palsy is the third relative charged with the teen’s murder.
Parents David and Bobby Jo Baynard, 53 and 42, had already been slapped with dozens of charges following the death of their daughter, Heather Baynard, in April, per jail records reviewed by Oxygen.com. On Monday, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) announced additional charges against the married couple and further charged their son, Edward Baynard, 20, in connection with Heather’s death, attaching charging documents with their release.
Jail records show David and Bobby Jo were already charged with murder and 40 counts each for the ill treatment of animals on April 28. The new charges included child abuse and unlawful neglect of a child or helpless person by a legal custodian
Edward Baynard was charged with murder, child abuse, unlawful neglect of a child or helpless person by a legal custodian, and three counts of animal cruelty.
Authorities with the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office were alerted to the abuse after Heather Baynard, who, according to charging documents, was “medically fragile,” died at the Spartanburg Regional Hospital on April 11, according to CBS affiliate WSPA.
Relatives told NBC Greenville affiliate WYFF that Heather lived with cerebral palsy. Photographs obtained by the outlet indicate Heather’s condition was severe.
Following the minor’s death, investigators went to the family’s Camp Ferry Road address in Gaffney - about 100 miles north of Columbia in the upstate region of South Carolina. There, Cherokee County Sheriff Steve Mueller said they found “the worse case of neglect that we have ever seen in this county.”
“The home in which [Heather] lived was in deplorable conditions, specifically filled with garbage, infested with roaches, and covered in animal urine and feces, including the crib in which [she] lived,” according to warrants released by SLED.
All three suspects were accused of failing to take Heather to medical appointments, despite “protests” by her physicians. Heather’s last doctor’s appointment occurred in the fall of 2021, officials stated.
Many of the appointments were “canceled” or “rescheduled.”
An arrest warrant accused Heather’s older brother of failing to save her.
“Edward Baynard was employed as both a Respite Nurse and a Certified Personal Care Assistant and failed to render any aid to [Heater],” according to his warrant.
Cherokee County Coroner Dennis Fowler cited neglect as being the contributing factor to Heather’s death, according to WSPA.
“It was very clear and obvious to me once I began my examination of this handicapped child that there had been severe neglect from the caregivers,” said Fowler. “That neglect led to serious medical condition that ultimately caused her death on April the 11th.”
Investigators found dozens of neglected animals on the scene.
“During a search warrant of [the] home and property, one dog was found deceased, and all other animals were severely malnourished, dehydrated, and infested with fleas and worms,” affiants wrote. “Additionally, two more puppies were deemed beyond saving by a veterinarian and had to be euthanized.”
The three animals’ deaths were a “direct result” of long-term neglect, according to authorities.
“How can a parent allow a child to lay in feces and urine? Their own feces and urine, and dog feces and cat feces and just simply not take care of them,” Sheriff Mueller told WSPA. “Here’s a 14-year-old girl, and they just simply let her down.”
Mueller said the animals contributed to a “huge ammonia-type smell” within the home.
According to Fox Greenville affiliate WHNS, the Cherokee County Animal Shelter rescued 37 cats and dogs from the Baynard home. The Humane Society assisted with the animals’ care to prepare them for placement with other families.
All three Baynards were booked into the Cherokee County Detention Center. Authorities say their cases will be prosecuted by the 7th Circuit Solicitor’s Office.